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What is an academic bursary?

Are you looking for ways to fund your studies? Perhaps an academic bursary is the answer to your financial worries. While financial grants are not easy to come by, it is worth every penny.

Academic bursaries can be found in almost every field of study from engineering to journalism.

These bursaries can be sponsored by private companies, universities or government departments. The number of bursaries made available by each entity varies.

Companies in a particular sector are more likely to fund study programmes in that sector. For example Eskom is known for funding training in the engineering field.

The competition amongst prospective students to secure financial aid is high and individuals will often be placed through a rigorous application and interview process to obtain it.

The bursary requirements can be strict and in order to apply students will have to meet the entrance requirements set by the benefactors.

Selected beneficiaries will then be expected to maintain a certain level of academic achievement, anything from a fifty to ninety percent pass rate, throughout the course of their study programme.

A bursary can either cover all or part of the varsity expenses including general costs like tuition, registration fees, exam fees, accommodation, meals, pocket money or computer allowance.

In most cases students will not be required to repay their monetary grant once the qualification has been completed. This is one of the biggest benefits of an academic bursary and the reason why so many individuals strive to get one.

However bursars will occasionally be obligated to work at the company responsible for sponsoring the grant after or during the course of their studies.

This can be seen as a positive opportunity as graduates will have the chance to gain work experience, but it also means that beneficiaries will be prevented from seeking alternate employment opportunities until their grant has been repaid.

It is important for potential beneficiaries to research the terms and conditions of the bursary before applying. Students who accept the terms will in effect enter into a contract with the benefactor and will be expected to maintain their end of the bargain.

Bursaries make it possible for hard working students who don't have financial support to further their education and pursue their careers.